Employee Performance Review Tips

Sep. 27

When it comes to the pay per click search engine marketing career path, it’s simply not enough to do great work. You need to do great work and get recognized. How can you get recognized? It’s all about dressing up for your job and creating the right search marketing perception. Now, what’s one of the premier ways to set everyone’s perception about your great work? Easy: Your employee self performance review! Today, I’m going to discuss some of my favorite tips for optimizing your annual self review.

Tip 1: Keep Detailed Search Marketing Records

Employee Performance Evaluation

I can’t stress this tip enough! In fact, I wrote an entire post about keeping detailed ppc records. Just think about it: Pay per click can get crazy! There are numbers we have to hit, fires we need to put out, and initiatives we need to complete. When we’re moving a mile a minute, it’s easy to move from one thing to the next without keeping good records.

However, resist the temptation and keep detailed records. When your annual self review comes around, leverage your records to your advantage. It’s time to go into painstaking detail listing out every single project you worked on. It’s time to leverage your records and shine!

Tip 2: Spend An Entire Day On Your Self Review

So now that you have detailed records, it’s time to work on your self review! Your schedule is crazy and you have limited time. As such, the natural tendency is to spend a few hours maximum on your self review. My advice: Spend an entire day on your employee self review. Block out all distractions. Go in a private conference room if you must. Turn off Outlook. There is no higher leverage event in the SEM career path than your self review. Remember, your boss may not know the true details of your accomplishments since you’re moving so quickly.

Tip 3: Go Above And Beyond In Your Self Review

What do I mean by going above and beyond? It’s probably easiest to illustrate this by example: I wrote a 15-page essay for my last self review! I included granular numbers and metrics, accomplishments and projects, successes in my team’s growth, and even pasted some of my recommendations from my LinkedIn (I have 58 recommendations on LinkedIn, after all)! Moreover, I spent some time seriously outlining my goals and aspirations for the next year. One thing is for sure: By going above and beyond in your employee self review:

  • You tell your manager that you’re really serious about your PPC job.
  • You know that you did everything in your power to ensure a positive outcome to your review!

Image of Employee Performance Review © iStockPhoto – maxexphoto

Huge Search Marketing Spenders

Sep. 21

The corporate world of pay per click search engine marketing is very exciting. One of the reasons it’s so exciting is the budgets are unreal. When you’re managing the kind of money I am, there’s always a reason to be excited (and on your toes). I often get the question, "Ian, how much money do you spend on Google AdWords and other large search engines?" Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question. However, today I’ve got the next best thing for you, information about what the top advertisers spent on Google in the month of June. But, before we get started, I want to thank my pal Robby for sending me the idea (and article) behind this post!

AdAge Reveals What Top Advertisers Spend On AdWords

Bags of Money - Large SEM Budgets

Recently, AdAge published a very exciting post. This post reveals what top advertisers spent on AdWords In June. I highly recommend reading this article, it’s a great read. Following are some of my favorite takeaways:

  • BP went crazy and ramped from minimal spend to $3.59 million in June. What really excites me about BP’s spend is the fact that it’s all about branding. Branding gets such a bad reputation in the world of online marketing, but I’m here to say that it’s the future. I’ll explain why a bit later!
  • AT&T Mobility spent $8.08 million in June, coming in as Google’s number one spender.
  • Apollo Group (the folks behind University of Phoenix) came in as number two with $6.67 million in spend. I was actually a bit surprised to see them that high on the list. I know a number of great people working at this company and can’t say enough good stuff about them!
  • It was interesting to see Living Social on the list with $2.29 million in spend. I haven’t heard much about these guys, they seem to have come out of nowhere, definitely a company to keep an eye on.
    • My prediction: Many newer companies are growing like crazy in this market such as Inflection. In the coming years, I expect many more startups and newer names on the list. Join one of those startups now and you could be a corporate PPC millionaire. (As a side note, you may wish to check out my article about PPC career paths where I talk about the startup option.)
  • I do wonder about the accuracy of this list. There are some names I expected to see on the list which are not there. Nonetheless, the data for the companies listed does seem plausible based on my six years of corporate PPC experience. In any event, I think it’s useful in terms of being directional.

PPC Is Just Getting Started, Get Ready For Branding

One of my favorite parts of AdAge’s article: BP spent $3.59 million on AdWords in June. All of this spend was pure branding. In my opinion, PPC is all about direct advertising right now. Most savvy companies are making a positive margin on their PPC spend. This is a good thing and it’s what we get paid to do.

However, when you start looking at the statistics, online advertising is still a smaller percentage of most big company advertising budgets. As these budgets continue to shift online, margins for many advertisers will get thinner and thinner. (I’m talking in aggregate here, of course there will always be super profitable niches.) Online will become more about branding. It makes perfect sense to me: At least BP knows how many clicks they are getting on AdWords (a proactive activity) versus offline impressions (which is a passive activity).

Now, you could look at this in two ways. If you’re a direct advertiser with really high margins, you could see it as glass half empty and worry about evaporating margins. (I wouldn’t look at it this way. As long as you don’t sit still and remain savvy, you’ll find a way to continue to squeeze out margin. If you squeeze margin out of a difficult environment, you will be the rock star of your company.) If you’re a glass half full type of person, this creates a world of opportunity for continued success in the online marketing career path! More money spent online means more opportunity for all of us in the corporate PPC world. Moreover, it creates a world of opportunity for content publishers.

Image of Bags of Money © iStockPhoto – lisegagne

Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance Whitepaper

Sep. 14

At the beginning of August, I shared my tips on preparing for the Yahoo Microsoft Search Alliance. Now that September is here, it’s really crunch time! I just got back from Maui and am really lucky I’m all rested up because we’re in the 11th hour here, the Search Alliance is upon us! With very high probability, Yahoo and Microsoft will complete the Alliance in October-November and Yahoo’s Panama platform will cease to exist.

Are you ready? If not, don’t worry! I just discovered an amazing whitepaper that will help you prepare fast. Today, I’d like to feature Marin Software’s The Yahoo!-Bing Search Alliance: 10 Secrets To A Smooth Transition. You’ll want to download it right away, this free 7 page whitepaper/checklist is truly invaluable.

Marin Software’s FREE Search Alliance Whitepaper Rocks

Marin Software Facebook

I’m a big fan of whitepapers! I just wrote a 12 page whitepaper all about SEM Automation. It took me nearly an entire day to write and edit this whitepaper. However, it was totally worth it based on all the positive feedback I have received.

Marin Software, one of my favorite SEM automation companies, is also a fan of whitepapers! In fact, I highlighted their awesome Optimization Beyond Bidding whitepaper just a few weeks ago. Well, they did it again! This time they released an amazing whitepaper all about the Yahoo Bing Search Alliance. And, they couldn’t have released this whitepaper at a better time!

What To Expect In The Yahoo Bing Whitepaper

Since the whitepaper is absolutely free and it’s a quick read, I’m going to save you some time and keep this post short. At the same time, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite aspects of Marin’s paper to pique your interest:

  • Marin offers 10 no-nonsense tips to make your transition as smooth as possible. These practical tips will immediately fuel your search organization’s October queue.
  • Have you performed a gap analysis before? Marin explains why this term will become one of your favorite words heading into the Yahoo Bing transition.
  • Yahoo and adCenter are very different platforms, especially when it comes to search engine specific tracking parameters. Marin discuses the differences between tracking parameters and also throws Google in the mix for good measure.

To close out, I’d like to offer a bonus tip for PPC Ian readers: Don’t forget to learn all about {param1}, {param2}, and {param3} on adCenter. These three simple keyword-specific parameters set adCenter apart from the other search engines with very powerful versatility. Used correctly, they will take your adCenter game to the next level. So, what are you waiting for? You can download the whitepaper here.

Image in this post © MarinSoftware.com

PPC Ian Visits Maui

Sep. 12

Pay per click can be a crazy career at times. Why? Just think of it as the NYSE trading floor, only it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. That’s also part of what makes it so much fun in my opinion! At the same time, it’s imperative to take vacations and recharge. After all, career longevity is the real key to making it big in online marketing. Today, I’d like to talk about my recent trip to the Ritz Carlton, Maui, my first "real" week long vacation of the year!

My First Real Vacation of 2010, It’s About Time!

PPC Ian and Nicole In Maui

2010 Has been a crazy year. I have been making stellar progress against my 2010 goals but have hardly had any time off. In fact, I’ve only taken one official day of PTO (paid time off) all year. That’s a good thing in that I’ve truly accomplished a lot. However, it’s a bad thing in that it’s not super healthy to work that hard with no break. As such, I’m extremely happy that my wife and I spent an amazing week relaxing at the Ritz Carlton, Maui.

The crazy thing about PPC: It’s really addictive and you can get stuck in a mode where you really don’t even want to take time off. It’s this strange state that’s brought about by the instant feedback loop of PPC. I was most definitely in that mode. My advice to you: Force yourself to take a vacation! You are in this for the long term.

My First Vacation With My iPad

I’m PPC Ian so you know I didn’t check out completely! I actually wrote and published two blog posts while on vacation: Inflection.com and Commission Junction. The fun part of it all: I didn’t even bring a laptop to Hawaii. I wrote and published these posts on my new 32 GB iPad with 3G. Moreover, I kept up with important work email and campaign management, all on my iPad! It’s important stuff: When your’re a Director, you can’t just abandon your team while on vacation. It sure was refreshing to have long battery life and less weight in my carry-on.

The only downside: Things took a little longer, especially considering I was having troubles pairing my wireless keyboard even though it worked just fine at home. Oh well, I was on "island time" anyway!

Hawaii Is Ideal For PPC

My wife and I love Hawaii. I also love the pay per click career path. The natural conclusion: Find a way to spend more time in Hawaii (maybe a few weeks each year) while working remotely. This may be even easier to swing if I can split the time up into a few separate blocks. This goal is something that will continue to motivate me well into the future! One thing is for sure: I’m blessed to be a leader in an industry that theoretically has no geographical boundaries!

Image In This Post © PPCIan.com

My Best Month On Commission Junction

Sep. 07

I’m a big fan of passive income. I’m also a big fan of SEO. Put the two together and I have built a network of information sites that drive passive income from affiliate programs. Historically, my main methods of monetization have been Google AdSense and the eBay Partner Network. However, I set the goal in 2010 of diversifying my affiliate programs. Even though I’m the biggest fan of AdSense around (and AdSense dominates my affiliate earnings), it always a great idea to diversify for added stability. To that end, I’m excited to report than I earned $991 on Commission Junction in the month of August, a new milestone for me. My earnings were at 100 percent margin, all from my SEO sites. Moreover, I spend less than 5 hours per month on this stuff (I’m a corporate SEM Director) so I’m super excited with the results.

My CJ Earnings Are Pure Profit

Commission Junction

My friend Jeremy from Profit Addiction said it best. Jeremy’s tagline "When revenue is not enough" indicates that it’s all about profit and not revenue. You hear a lot about people making thousands and thousands of dollars with affiliate marketing. However, most of the time they are talking about revenue and not profit. There’s a big difference!

Just think about it: Pay per click is getting really competitive. If you’re a savvy affiliate, your percentage margin may be 25 percent tops (most are much lower). Let’s assume I earned my $991 via PPC at 25 percent margin (instead of my 100 percent SEO margin percent). That means my theoretical PPC revenue is $4,000 or $48,000 per year. Not bad!

However, PPC margins can be volatile. As such, I would always swap PPC dollar margin for the same dollar margin in SEO. In short, I’m a huge fan of SEO earnings. Sustainable SEO margin is just like a great dividend-paying stock, whereas PPC is more like active trading.

Affiliate Marketing Is A Small Percentage of My Income

So you may be thinking why is Ian writing about a $991 monthly profit, it’s not that much money. Here’s the cool part and why I’m such a big proponent of moonlighting: It’s all gravy on top of my salary and involves only a few hours a month. (Also its just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my affiliate income as CJ is a smaller component of my cash flow.)

CJ Account Balance

However, I’m here to make a point… I spend the vast majority (99 percent) of my time on my full time job. A good percentage of my full time salary goes towards bills. My affiliate marketing income, however, is pure savings that goes directly into my bank account or other investment vehicles. With only a few extra hours a month I have learned invaluable SEO skills (helpful in my career) while building a stream of pure profit that goes to my bottom line.

Since my $991 is passive and recurring, it’s representative of about $240,000 value in my eyes (I would have to invest $240,000 at 5 percent dividend yield to get that same annual cash flow via stocks). In short, no matter how small your affiliate business, SEO margin is much more valuable than you may think!

Give Commission Junction A Try

I’ve been building out a lot of SEO sites and have been placing CJ ads on all of them. I have been very pleased with my results and highly recommend giving Commission Juntion a try. Many people I know don’t use CJ as much anymore since the eBay affiliate program is now managed by eBay (and not via CJ like it was in the past). However, I’m here to say that Commission Junction has many great offers that convert quite well in SEO, especially in "review" style sites.